Local Awards for 2016
Winner: "Shoe on Other Foot On ‘War on Women’"
The only thing that was truthful in this editorial were the first two sentences about the attempt to recognize World War II women pilots. The rest of the editorial contained one lie after another about the role played by Democrats and the president. Here was my conclusion at the time:
The Intelligencer and News-Register have committed these ethical sins previously but no editorial has previously done them so often in so few words. (Only 223 words.) I can say without any doubts that this is the most unethical editorial that I have read in the 27 months that I have been doing this blog.
That was back in May and it's still the gold standard for how far the locals are willing to go to lie and propagandize against President Obama and Democrats.
Runner-up: "Political Stunt Stalls Flood Aid"
Yes, back in September the News-Register managed to blame the victims, the President, and Democrats for what happened to the water in Flint, Michigan. Like the winner in this category, truth was not one of the editorial's strong points.
Worst News Article
Winner: "Solar Training To Cost $1.8B"
In August, Casey Junkins reported on a Harvard study of the economic feasibility of retraining miners for work in the solar industry. Junkins article, however, badly misrepresented the study. By cherry-picking and distorting the study's evidence, Junkins made it appear that the study had concluded that retraining would be a very expensive proposition when the study had concluded just the opposite. This was not sloppy reporting, it was willful distortion in order to further propagandize for the coal industry. And of course, it was followed the next day by an editorial that used Junkin's bogus and unethical report as the basis for an anti-solar industry editorial.
No other news article comes close to this one. This is the locals' at their despicable worst -- distorting and lying to further an agenda that is really about propagandizing rather than informing their readership.
Dumbest Local Column
Winner: Mike Myer's post-Thanksgiving Day "Outsiders Just Don’t Get W.Va."
In the column, Myer took one of the networks to task for failure to feature the West Virginia Band in its coverage of the Macy's Parade. Somehow this was a conspiracy by media elites (even though another network featured the band) that somehow connected to political correctness, the Second Amendment, and how nobody respects West Virginians. (In a category with a lot of competition, its recent publication probably helped it get the nod.)
Reader statistics and favorites for the year
Google Analytics tells me that my numbers were up significantly for the year with posts around the primary and general elections being the high points in terms of actual readers. My RSS feed supplied the blog with steady basic numbers while social media provided major spikes in readership. The three posts this year that got the most hits were political in nature and scored big on social media:
- "The Sunday opinion section carries Delegate Ryan Weld's op-ed piece"
- "The Intelligencer's anti-Hillary campaign moves into high gear"
- "To mix some metaphors: Karma is a dish best served when it's on the other foot"
A special thank-you to those who took this blog to social media.
On a personal basis, I had the most fun with "Looking to the past to create West Virginia's future" about the failures of the West Virginia legislature.
And now it's 2017
It's an election off-year but there should be plenty to write about. The West Virginia legislature is a special gift to bloggers and with the Republicans firmly in charge, there should be more-than-enough to cover for the first three months of the year. The local "newspapers" recent embrace of all-things Trump as well as the Republican Congress should also keep this blog busy. And while the number of "vendetta" and the “we're gonna put a lot of coal miners and companies out of business” references in our local "newspapers" will decline, I'm sure that the locals will find some new scapegoats once it becomes clear that Trump isn't going to live up to his advanced billing.
Happy New Year!